Degrassi is a Canada TV staple that has earned fans around the world over the years. And, believe it or not, it's been on the air in various incarnations since the '80s!
The Degrassi train started out with Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High in the '80s and then the show received an update in the '00s with Degrassi: The Next Generation. As of 2016, there's yet another version, Degrassi: The New Class, which international audiences can watch on Netflix.
While all the versions have fans, it's definitely Degrassi: The Next Generation that the majority of people think of when they think of the show. That version was on the air for over a decade and launched the careers of quite a few stars in Canada. And, of course, launched the rise of certain individuals who decided not to pursue acting after all.
Given that the show was from Canada, the stars didn't exactly get followed around by the paparazzi as stars of a US teen drama would. So, even though they had successful jobs, they weren't quite household names—and many of them have stepped away from show business in the years since they left their characters behind.
For fans who have ever wondered what on earth happened to the Degrassi crew they were so obsessed with, well, we've got them covered. Here are 18 Degrassi stars we love today (and 2 who never quite moved on).
20 Still Love: The Adorable Aubrey Graham, Now Known As Drake
Drake is without a doubt the most famous Degrassi alum, although he still obviously values his days playing Jimmy on the show. After all, for his video "I'm Upset," he reunited the whole Degrassi crew at their old stomping grounds. Back when he was on the show, Drake went by his actual name, Aubrey Graham, and played the lovable jock Jimmy.
Once the show wrapped, instead of pursuing more acting roles, he set his sights on becoming a rapper. Obviously, that worked out pretty well for him! We love that, despite all his success, he doesn't seem to have forgotten his roots. Sure, he's developed a new circle of friends, but he still has a place in his heart for his former co-stars.
19 Still Love: Everyone's Favorite Bestie, Cassie Steele
Cassie Steele's character Manny Santos was definitely a fan favorite. There was something that was so flawed and vulnerable about her character that made her the perfect one for tough storylines—and Steele brought some major skill to those stories, despite her young age.
Once the show wrapped, Steele went on to play an aspiring actress on the show The L.A. Complex and tried to launch herself as a pop star. She isn't exactly a household name yet, but we still love seeing her pop up on whatever project she has in the works. And, if you ever had a crush on Manny Santos, you should probably follow Cassie on IG.
18 Still Love: The Talented Stacey Farber, Who Played The Troubled Ellie Nash
Stacey Farber definitely did not have an easy job playing Ellie Nash. Her character was troubled and had a lot of really difficult storylines, and Farber pulled it off with grace. So, it probably comes as no surprise that she decided to pursue acting once her time on Degrassi was over. In fact, Farber is probably one of the Degrassi alum who has been working the most steadily.
She was on the television series 18 to Life for a year or two, then on Saving Hope for a few seasons as well. She's pretty much only worked in television over the years, so who knows—perhaps the big screen is her next goal.
17 Still Love: Everyone's Favorite Bad Boy, Daniel Clark
The Degrassi stars are somewhat unique in that they didn't get their big success in Hollywood. They achieved success in the Canada market, on a smaller scale, which means many of them ended up pursuing work outside the entertainment industry as they grew up. It's not the same experience as someone who moves to Hollywood with the sole purpose of becoming a star.
While Clark earned many fans as his character Sean, he ultimately went a different direction with his life. He attended business school at NYU, founded a non-profit called Brightline Education, and now works in the background in the industry at ABC-Univision.
16 Still Love: Musician Jake Epstein, Who Went From Degrassi To Broadway
Jake Epstein's character Craig earned a ton of fans because, well, what teenage girl isn't drawn to the guy in the band? He portrayed a dedicated musician with a somewhat complicated love life, and it turns out that the musician part of his character hit pretty close to home. Once the show wrapped, he continued acting, but in a totally different way—on stage!
He honed his craft at the National Theatre School of Canada once his Degrassi days were over, then started his stint in musicals. To date, he's been in a wide variety, including Spring Awakening, Billy Elliot: The Musical, American Idiot, Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. Impressive!
15 Never Moved On: Miriam McDonald, Who Was At The Center Of It All As Emma Nelson
We imagine Miriam McDonald had one of the toughest times moving past her Degrassi days because she was kind of the central character. Sure, each episode had different storylines and it was an ensemble cast. However, Emma was definitely one of the most prominent characters on the show—and McDonald got the gig when she was still so young!
Since the show wrapped, she's been dabbling in a variety of ventures. She hasn't gotten any regular gigs on television shows or movies, but she's had a few projects over the years. To be honest, we're wondering why she doesn't just put all her eggs in the influencer basket—her IG page seems like a total influencer account.
14 Still Love: Lauren Collins, Who Played Mean Girl Paige Michalchuk
Fans of the show sometimes have a tough time realizing that Lauren Collins is actually a whole lot nicer than the character she played. Paige Michalchuk was definitely a bit of a mean girl—although she had a heart of gold and always meant well. Since the show wrapped, Collins has stayed in the industry. She may not be an A-List name, but she's been working steadily, which definitely is no small feat.
She's been in a variety of movies, including Take The Lead and Charlie Bartlett, had a few guest appearances on television and even hosted a talk show on MTV. She's definitely super personable, and we wouldn't be surprised if she decided to focus on the hosting component in the years to come.
13 Still Love: Shane Kippel A.K.A. Spinner
Shane Kippel's character Spinner was a total goofball and is definitely a fan favorite since he was on the show for nine full seasons. That's quite a commitment to a project, especially at such a young age! Once the show wrapped, Kippel did pursue a few acting roles and got cast in some smaller projects, but that's not where his true focus lies.
Instead, he discovered a passion for music and plays the drums for his alternative rock band Dear Love. Given that his character Spinner also was in a band, perhaps his Degrassi days gave him some inspiration for his current course in life!
12 Still Love: Nina Dobrev, Who Went From Degrassi To The Vampire Diaries
Besides Drake, Nina Dobrev is probably the most famous Degrassi alum at this point. Many people completely forget that she's from Canada and got her start on Degrassi because, well, she's been in a lot of projects since then! She's had roles in several movies now, but the role that catapulted her to superstardom was definitely The Vampire Diaries.
While Canada audiences knew her, she was still a relative unknown when she was cast in the CW drama. It was certainly a risk, but it paid off in a big way—the show made her an internationally recognized star, and she turned that into lasting success. We can't wait to see what project she tackles next!
11 Still Love: Shenae Grimes-Beech, Who Went From Degrassi To Beverly Hills
Shenae Grimes-Beech—who was just Shenae Grimes back in her Degrassi days—is another one of the stars who lucked out with success in the US market. After the show wrapped, she managed to snag the leading role in 90210, a modern revamp of the beloved teen drama. She played Beverly Hills teenager Annie on the show for several seasons and earned a whole new legion of fans around the world.
Nowadays, Grimes-Beech is focusing on her YouTube channel. She shares everything from make-up tutorials to Degrassi throwback reaction videos to a glimpse at her life as a new mom. We have to admit, we love the new trend of celebs with YouTube channels!
10 Still Love: Sarah Barrable-Tishauer, Who Played Model Student Liberty Van Zandt
While she had her fans, Liberty had a tough character to play. She was often the voice of reason rather than the voice of fun, which isn't always the easiest to be as a teen. However, in real life, it seems like Sarah Barrable-Tishauer is living a crazy life that is the total opposite of her long-time character. After her Degrassi years, Barrable-Tishauer graduated from Concordia University and entered the workforce. Instead of returning to acting, she decided to embark on a path in marketing instead.
Today, she's a freelance marketing consultant, and perhaps even more interestingly, is a DJ. That's right-Drake isn't the only Degrassi alum in the music industry now! She plays clubs throughout Canada under her alias DJ Me Time, which is pretty crazy.
9 Still Love: Ryan Cooley, Who Went From Dorky J.T. To Real Life Boss
While his smile is familiar, it's tough to recognize Ryan Cooley today because he just looks so different than in his teenage years! He definitely filled out a bit and isn't quite the skinny teen he was back when he played J.T. Yorke on the show. While he has done some voice-over work in the years since he was on the show, he's pretty much left the world of acting.
Instead, Ryan is a total boss in the digital world. As he shares on his IG, he's the Vice President of Konrad Group, which is an agency that creates apps and digital products. Pretty cool!
8 Still Love: Jake Goldsbie, Who Played J.T.'s Bestie Toby
When you've seen an actor playing a certain character for season after season, it's easy to assume that they share many traits. So, many fans likely assumed that Jake Goldsbie is more of an intellectual than a jock, like his character Toby was. However, it turns out that couldn't be further from the truth!
After his teenage acting years, Goldsbie turned to the world of sports and is involved in a variety of sports websites and podcasts. Who would have guessed? He does still have a passion for playing characters, though, and has been in a few plays over the years.
7 Still Love: Melinda Shankar, Who Used Her Entertainment Industry Experience To Launch A Business
Melinda Shankar got her start on Degrassi as annoying little sister Allie but soon became a complex character with her own storylines and drama. Unlike many of the other actors on the show, Shankar didn't want to put all her eggs in one basket. So, while she was starring on Degrassi, she also appeared on the show How To Be Indie and in a few small movies.
While she was still employed as an actress, she and one of her friends decided to launch a styling and image agency, Miss Conception. So, the moment she wrapped her Degrassi experience, she walked right into work as an image and brand consultant. What a boss!
6 Still Love: Melissa McIntyre, Who Left Acting And Focused On Her Music Instead
We kind of wonder if the actors' real-life talents played a role in the characters' development, or if it's just coincidence. Melissa McIntyre is one of the many Degrassi alum who got involved in music after the show wrapped, and is now apparently a singer in a band, Fortune.
However, she doesn't seem like the type who wants to capitalize on her teenage television stardom. She keeps a really low profile and lives her life out of the public eye. She probably does still enjoy running into fans from time to time though! I mean, who wouldn't want to know they were an inspiration to you as a teen?
5 Never Moved On: Stefan Brogren, Who Has Played Archie "Snake" Simpson For Decades
Stefan Brogren got his start on Degrassi as a teen and has been there ever since. He played the young version of Snake back on the original Degrassi Junior High, and when they revamped the show, he returned as main character Emma's step-father (and a teacher at the school).
Brogren has had a few other projects over the years, but overall, he's played the character of Archie "Snake" Simpson for pretty much his entire teenage an adult life. That's wild! Apart from things like soap operas, it's fairly rare for an actor to play the same character across decades. We wonder if he's ever sick of Snake!
4 Still Love: Adamo Ruggiero, Who Was A Major Trailblazer Both On And Off Screen
Adamo Ruggiero played the charming and fashion-conscious Marco Del Rossi, who had a ton of really tough storylines revolving around his love life. It turns out, playing that character must have been really meaningful for him because he shared many of the same struggles as his character did. He's kept a pretty low profile over the years, doing a few hosting gigs like hosting the Canada competition The Next Star.
Given his extensive experience on camera and his fun personality, we wouldn't be surprised to see him become Canada's version of charming red carpet staple Mario Lopez. I mean, who wouldn't want Adamo on the red carpet?
3 Still Love: The Always Gorgeous Christina Schmidt
Christina Schmidt's character Terri McGreggor navigated tough issues around body image and self-esteem, which was something many viewers identified with. However, she was written off the show at one point because she wanted to hang up her acting hat to pursue her dream of becoming a model. And, it was obviously a great decision on her part.
While she may not be Gisele-level famous yet, she seems to be working regularly with prestigious agencies around the world. Not bad for a girl from Degrassi! We'll have to keep our eye out to see if we spot her in any fashion campaigns.
2 Still Love: Charlotte Arnold, Who Played Everyone's Favorite Type A Holly J
It's certainly not easy being an actress. Even if you have experience under your belt, you have to be right for whatever role you're going up for. Charlotte Arnold seems interested in staying in the acting world but hasn't had a ton of credits under her belt since Degrassi. She did manage to land a role on the Amazon show Patriot for two seasons, which is impressive.
We can't wait to see what kind of roles she books next. She seems like the type who could play such a wide range of characters. Although, it's unlikely she'll ever play a character for quite as long as she played Holly J.
1 Still Love: Landon Liboiron, Who Went From Degrassi To The Spooky Hemlock Grove and Frontier
Landon Liboiron's character Declan Coyne was a later addition to the show, as he only appeared for the first time in season 9. However, he earned his fair share of fans in his brief time on the series, and many were eager to see what he'd get up to after leaving the show. Well, it turns out, a lot!
Liboiron appeared in a few horror movies and then jumped from television show to television show. He started with sci-fi drama Terra Nova, then went on to the popular Netflix original Hemlock Grove, and finally moved to playing a character on Frontier alongside Jason Momoa. Not too shabby!
Sources: Hollywood, Reel Rundown, Seventeen, Brides Blush